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Pennsylvania Autism Census Highlights Dramatic Increase in Numbers

Nov 13, 2014

Map of Pennsylvania with counties shaded to show number of individuals with autism receiving services in each county

Pennsylvania’s Autism Services, Education, Resources & Training Collaborative (ASERT) has released the Pennsylvania Autism Census Update for 2014. The original Pennsylvania Autism Census released in 2009 identified almost 20,000 individuals with autism receiving services across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Update now estimates that there are over 55,000 children and adults with autism receiving services, which is almost triple the number initially identified.

“The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Update is one of the first efforts in the nation to capture where individuals of all ages on the autism spectrum are receiving services,” said the study’s lead author, Lindsay Shea, DrPH, director of the eastern region of ASERT and senior manager of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University. “Pennsylvania is leading the nation in using data to help inform autism-specific policy and programs. The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Update is a landmark effort using data from multiple sources to help achieve that goal.”

The study found that the number of individuals with autism in all age groups receiving services has increased tremendously since the original census study was released. It also found that adults with autism receiving services were the fastest growing group in Pennsylvania. This dramatic upward trend is expected to continue.

As more individuals with autism age into adulthood, it becomes imperative for community leaders and decision-makers to learn more about this complex disorder. Many members of the community, including medical professionals, first responders, educational professionals, college administrators, spiritual leaders and business leaders, can benefit from the information in the Pa. Autism Census Update.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Autism Census at This website includes a clickable map showing information for each county in Pennsylvania. Resources are also available through the ASERT Collaborative at or by calling the Statewide Resource Center toll-free number for live assistance at 1.877.231.4244.

ASERT, funded by the Bureau of Autism Services, Pa. Department of Public Welfare, is a key component of Pennsylvania’s strategy for supporting individuals with autism and their families throughout the Commonwealth. A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University is one of three primary ASERT partners statewide, serving eastern Pennsylvania. The other primary partners are Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders in western Pennsylvania and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in central Pennsylvania.